I’m always learning from my peers and colleagues, and one thing that I often notice is how nice it is when someone says “thank you”. Other small things make a difference to my day, and make me think that I really ought to make more effort to do the same for others. I’d like to “pay it forward”, as it were, and keep the circle of niceness flowing. I know that sometimes I’m far too goal-oriented and not gracious enough, especially when it comes to work. I try to overcome my natural tendency because I really do appreciate it when others are a bit more social. This is my list of the things that I appreciate from others, but also a reminder to myself to try and do the same. And I think that they will help anyone who is collaborating with others.
- Saying thank you. I’m British, so I ought to know my “P”s and “Q”s but I do miss the odd trick in the digital world. Like when someone validates my skills on LinkedIn, I just think “thank you” but don’t actually take the trouble to say it. I was recently reminded of how nice it would be if I did this, when someone else thanked me for this.
- Acknowledging sources. Of course I reference liberally, and add copyright statements about images, etc. Yet sometimes I genuinely forget that when I tweet about a blogpost or article, that the person who told me about it by email might also be on Twitter, and would appreciate an acknowledgement. The “via @…” format is really easy to use on Twitter. Or “HT” instead of via, which is short for “hat tip” and one character shorter.
- Asking how others are. This is nice in an email when others start by saying “I hope you’re well”. Being specific and asking “how was that job interview” or about whatever else is going on is even nicer. A friend emailed me recently and asked how I was. I was rushed and replied with a sentence or two about what’s going on, and my friend replied “I’m fine, thanks for asking!” Doh!
- Wish others well. Of course, if you say “best wishes” or “kind regards” at the bottom of your email, you’re kind of saying it. Except that it isn’t really noticeable! These are conventions that carry little meaning. So an extra sentence to say “Have a good weekend” or “I hope that your concert goes well” carries a lot more meaning.
- Offer something about yourself. Something that I’ve noticed the continental Europeans often do when emailing people in other countries is to sign off emails with something like “greetings from sunny Berlin/snowy Helsinki”. I really like this when I read it: it gives me a tiny window on the life of the person with whom I am communicating, even if we do stick to business things in the body of the email.
Well these are the things that I appreciate, in the world of digital communication. What about you? Are there particular practices that make you think “yes, I should do that to”? Please leave a comment below, or tweet at us @jobsacuk
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